Andrew Brown (writer)

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Andrew Brown
Born1955 (age 64–65)
London, England
  • Writer
  • journalist
  • editor
  • broadcaster
Notable worksFishing in Utopia
Notable awardsOrwell Prize

Andrew Brown (born 1955 in London) is an English journalist, writer, and editor.[1] He was one of the founding staff members of The Independent, where he worked as religious correspondent, parliamentary sketch writer, and a feature writer. [2] He has written extensively on technology for Prospect and the New Statesman and been a feature writer on the Guardian.[3] He has worked as the editor for the Belief section of The Guardian's Comment is Free which won a Webby under his leadership [4] and is currently a leader writer and member of the paper's editorial board. He is also the press columnist of the Church Times.[5] In The Beginning was the Worm (2004) was shortlisted for the Aventis Prize. Fishing in Utopia (2008) won the Orwell Prize and was nominated for the Dolman Best Travel Book Award in 2009.


English Wikipedia[edit]

Andrew Brown fears English Wikipedia has outcompeted rival encyclopedias and problems that lead to criticism of Wikipedia will continue. Brown fears "charlatans and liars" have most to gain from editing Wikipedia and potential idealistic contributors are discouraged due to difficulties editing the site especially through smartphones.[6]


Brown has been a fierce critic of the Sam Harris' position on torture. He has attacked Harris for what he has described as Harris' advocacy of torture in situations where we are willing to accept collateral damage (i.e.; from bombing, etc.), as it relates to fighting the war on terror.[7]

Popularity of non-believers and scientific concepts[edit]

Brown has criticised Richard Dawkins for what he calls the cult of personality that has grown around him and his positions.[8] He is also sceptical of the scientific concept of memes, as developed by Dawkins.[9][10]

The Guardian editorial on David Cameron[edit]

In September 2019, Private Eye magazine named Brown as the author of an editorial in The Guardian newspaper about David Cameron. This touched the death of the PM's six-year-old son. Brown claimed the PM only ever felt "privileged pain". The article provoked outrage across the political spectrum and the paper later said the piece "fell far short of our standards. It has now been amended, and we apologise completely."


Brown has described himself as someone for whom "Christianity is only true backwards."[11] He has written that he is "constantly astonished by the way in which the Church of England contains such a large number of clever, learned and dedicated people giving their lives to an institution that is none of those things." He has also concluded, "But I still can't do it myself. So why worry? Why not see it all as nonsense? Because really it isn't all nonsense. As a friend of mine, a former missionary, said once: "It's about the thing that is true even if Christianity isn't true. Christian language does things that no other use of language can. I can conclude only that God has called me to be an atheist."[11][12]


Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "Sweden's magic, its women - and its fish". The Spectator. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-04-10. Retrieved 2016-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2016-02-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Religion & Spirituality".
  5. ^ Rausing, Sigrid (June 29, 2009). "The death of a dream". New Statesman.
  6. ^ "Wikipedia editors are a dying breed. The reason? Mobile". 25 June 2015 – via The Guardian.
  7. ^ Brown, Andrew (8 August 2009). "Sam Harris, torture, quotation" – via The Guardian.
  8. ^ "The bizarre – and costly – cult of Richard Dawkins". 16 August 2014.
  9. ^ Brown, Andrew (8 July 2009). "Serious objections to memes" – via The Guardian.
  10. ^ Gabora, L.; Brown, A. (1 January 1999). "Susan Blackmore, The Meme Machine". 6: 77–85 – via PhilPapers. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ a b "Help thou mine unbelief".
  12. ^ "How do churches get new bums on seats? Get rid of the boring old ones". 1 April 2013 – via The Guardian.
  13. ^ "A Policeman's Lot". Evening Times. Feb 12, 1988. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Rediscovering the gene genius". Sunday Herald. Apr 4, 1999. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  15. ^ "In the Beginning Was the Worm by Andrew Brown". New Scientist. 22 February 2003. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  16. ^ Edgar, Lois (2006). "In the Beginning Was the Worm: Finding the Secrets of Life in a Tiny Hermaphrodite (Book-Review)". The Quarterly Review of Biology. 81: 49–50. doi:10.1086/503924.
  17. ^ "Fishing in Utopia by Andrew Brown". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  18. ^ "Fishing in Utopia, By Andrew Brown - Reviews, Books". The Independent. Jul 27, 2008.
  19. ^ Oscarson, Christopher (Spring 2010). "Andrew Brown. Fishing in Utopia: Sweden and the Future that Disappeared.(Book review)". Scandinavian Studies. 82 (1): 99.
  20. ^ "That Was The Church That Was".
  21. ^ "Journalist receives first European Religion award". Christian Science Monitor. October 2, 1995. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  22. ^ "Record entries for science prize". BBC. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  23. ^ "Debut book wins Dolman Travel Book award". Telegraph. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  24. ^ "Orwell Prize 2009". Granta. Archived from the original on 2013-05-22. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  25. ^ "Sverigeskildring fick Orwellpris". Svenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 27 April 2013.